United States President Joe Biden on Tuesday said he is withdrawing his nomination of Indian-American Neera Tanden as his budget chief at her request, after she faced strong opposition from Republican and Democrat lawmakers for her past controversial tweets, Reuters reported.
Tanden’s withdrawal is the first case of a Biden Cabinet nominee failing to win Senate approval.
“I have accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from nomination for director of the Office of Management and Budget,” Biden said in a short statement. He also said that he expected Tanden to land another role in his administration, according to CNBC. But the president did not identify what that job might be.
Tanden, who served in the administrations of former Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, was facing opposition from at least three senators who said they would vote against her because of her history criticising lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle.
She repeatedly apologised for her harsh tweets during her confirmation hearings, but ultimately was unable to convince senators she had the right personality to lead the US Office of Management and Budget.
“Unfortunately, it now seems clear that there is no path forward to gain confirmation, and I do not want continued consideration of my nomination to be a distraction from your other priorities,” wrote Tanden in a letter to Biden. “I appreciate how hard you and your team at the White House has worked to win my confirmation.”
Tanden would have been the first woman of colour and the first South Asian to head the US Office of Management and Budget, as well as the Indian-American with the highest position in the administration – after Vice President Kamala Harris.
Her withdrawal leaves the Biden administration without a clear replacement. A few potential nominees have been floated for the post, including Ann O’Leary, a former top Hillary Clinton aide, and Gene Sperling, a former economic adviser to former Presidents Clinton and Obama, according to The Politico.